SCHOFIELD – Governor Scott Walker signed three special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The three bills relate to detecting, treating, and preventing opioid abuse in schools.
“In 2014, 843 Wisconsinites died from a drug overdose, some of whom were students,” Governor Walker said. “That’s 843 families that lost their loved ones – and it’s 843 too many lives lost. The bills we’re signing here today at DC Everest provide the resources needed to help detect, treat, and prevent opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose in our schools. The safety and well-being of our children are top priorities, and we remain committed in the fight against the opioid epidemic and drug abuse in Wisconsin.”
Special Session Assembly Bill 1 – allows school bus drivers, employees, and volunteers as well as college or technical college residence hall directors with proper training to administer an opioid antagonistic, such as naloxone or Narcan, to those who appear to be experiencing an overdose. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-0. It is Act 29.
Special Session Assembly Bill 6 – permits the director of the Office of Educational Opportunity to contract for operation of a recovery charter high school as a four-year pilot project. The recovery charter school would combine academic coursework, therapeutic programming, support, and substance abuse counseling in a school setting for high school students who are recovering from a substance abuse disorder or dependency. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 95-2 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-1. It is Act 30.
Special Session Assembly Bill 11 – requires the Department of Public Instruction to establish a mental health training support program. The program would provide school district and charter school staff with training on Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT. SBIRT is a public health screening tool and interview model that school staff may utilize to conduct early interventions with students struggling with mental health, alcohol, and drug issues. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 31.
Governor Walker is signing a total of 11 bills into law today, all of which were recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse was created in September 2016 for the purposes of advising and assisting the Governor in a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis facing the State of Wisconsin.